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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD Deputy Secretary Barry Recognizes Festival Foods

Fox Valley area businesses named 'Exemplary Employer' for commitment to hiring persons with disabilities

APPLETON – At a celebration event today in Appleton, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry commended Festival Foods as an example for other employers to follow in the recruitment and hiring of job seekers with disabilities. Deputy Secretary Barry presented three Fox Valley-based Festival Foods grocery stores with an "Exemplary Employer" award from Governor Scott Walker.

"As a family-owned Wisconsin business in a highly competitive market, Festival Foods is a true success story in our state, and we applaud the company's recognition that hiring persons with disabilities helps their bottom line," Deputy Secretary Barry said. "By employing individuals with a strong work ethic and a friendly, positive attitude toward customers, Festival Foods' is building a base of repeat customers and helping job seekers with disabilities reach their employment goals."

Festival Foods has worked with DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) over the years to hire job seekers with disabilities and, in the last year, has hired job seekers with disabilities for its Darboy, Northland, and Neenah stores.

Festival Foods, founded in 1946 in Onalaska as Skogen’s IGA, operates 18 full-service supermarkets and employs more than 5,000 full and part-time employees.

In addition to declaring October as Disability Employment Awareness Month, Governor Walker proclaimed 2014 as the Year of A Better Bottom Line to highlight successful operations thanks in part to the contributions of people with disabilities, while urging other employers to consider this skilled and capable workforce.

DVR is actively serving almost 17,000 job seekers with disabilities and, during the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, placed 4,415 individuals in a variety of positions. The newly employed individuals are projected to earn $78.3 million annually, more than double the taxpayer investment in their services.

For more information:

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/
Governor's Proclamation: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/pdf/disability_employment_awareness_month.pdf
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